Forget hotels or even hostels – go off the beaten track to discover your own piece of paradise in these picture perfect places in South Australia.
The views, the quiet, the sense of being at one with nature; all these elements are offered in abundance at South Australia’s best camping and caravan spots. Want the beauty of the great outdoors with all the creature comforts of home? Glamping is for you. Here's our top 7 places to set up camp in South Australia. The best news? There are even free camping options.
1. Perlubie Beach Campground, Eyre Peninsula
The Eyre Peninsula offers some of the best beach camping spots in Australia. Think long stretches of sand, endless places to make camp before waking up to every shade of blue. Perlubie tops the list for its absolute beachfront camping, the ability to beach launch the boat and the breathtaking view of the sun, sky and sea melting together at sunset. The calm waters of Perlubie, located on the western end of the Eyre Peninsula coastline near Streaky Bay, make it a family friendly beach stop. Seafood lovers can pull out the gas bottle and mini bbq to grill up some freshly caught crab or snapper for a true paddock to plate experience. Perlubie Beach campground offers clean flushing toilets, 4WD access and uses an honesty box system, asking guests for a $10 contribution per night.
2. Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges
Pitch a tent and go camping in a national park at Wilpena Pound campground, just beyond the circle of hills enclosing the natural amphitheatre. There are powered and unpowered campsites, as well as permanent tents and bus bays. Climb the ridge in the early morning and late afternoon and watch the sun rising and setting over the pound. You can also take scenic flights over this wondrous landscape from the nearby airstrip and eat and have a leisurely drink in the friendly comfort of the resort.
Want more from your camping getaway? There are 15 luxury Safari Tents at Wilpena Pound Resort, complete with king size beds and en suite bathrooms, as well as air-conditioning in summer. Non-powered campsites start from $24 a night, subject to change. Refer to Wilpena Pound Resort website for costs.
Where to find it: Wilpena Pound is located about 5 hours drive from Adelaide in the Flinders Ranges.
3. Cable Bay Campground, Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula
There is something sublime about Innes National Park. Located at the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula, it is surrounded by perfect beaches, outstanding surf and dramatic cliffs. It is so far away from everything that you can spend a day walking and exploring without seeing another person.
It is wilderness at its most seductive and beautiful. Pitch a tent at the beach campground in Cable Bay and watch the sun rise over the Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park. Nearby is the historic Inneston ghost town, the rusty remains of the wreck of the Ethel, and some of the best surfing anywhere in Australia.
Where to find it: Innes National Park is located about 3 and a half hours drive from Adelaide.
4. Ocean Beach, Coorong National Park
There are 12 campgrounds with 63 designated camping sites in Coorong National Park. Camping near water allows all campers to enjoy the quietness of the waterway or by the grandeur of the dunes that protect the Coorong from the Great Southern Ocean.
You’ll need a four-wheel drive (4WD) to access this area. There are 16 designated beach campsites and each is suitable for only two four-wheel drives and two tents or swags – but the experience of the stars, the roar of the waves and dawn waking you is unforgettable.
Where to find it: Coorong National Park is located about 1 and a half hours drive from Adelaide.
5. Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island has a large number of excellent campsites, but none compare to Vivonne Bay. Arguable one of the best camping spots in Australia where the sands are impossibly white, the waters are turquoise blue and, when the winds are blowing, the full drama of the Great Southern Ocean can be observed from the safety of a bay protected by Point Ellen.
Enjoy a beach many consider the most beautiful in Australia, go fishing from the jetty and know you have pitched your tent in the place many regard as the best that Kangaroo Island offers. Check out our guide to the 5 best camping spots on Kangaroo Island.
Where to find it: Vivonne Bay is on Kangaroo Island, a 35 minute flight from Adelaide. From Kingscote Airport, it's a 45 minute drive to the beach.
6. Talia Caves, Eyre Peninsula
The beauty of the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula seems intentionally designed to take your breath away. The rugged sandstone cliffs have been eroded into “caves” or “caverns” known as The Woolshed and The Tub. The lonely beaches - wild and dangerous and edged by mountainous dunes – stretch to the horizon. Among all this passionate beauty is the Talia Caves campground - without toilets or water, but with 20 sites for bush camping.
You can fish or simply gaze at the beauty of the coastline. As a bonus, you can pitch your tent and watch the sun set over waters which, further west, are pounding against the Great Australian Bight. Please prepare for the ultimate off-grid experience as this campsite does not have any facilities.
Where to find it: Tahlia Caves is located about 2 hour drive from Port Lincoln, south of Port Kenny and offers free camping to visitors. Please be mindful of the footprint you leave and dispose of rubbish correctly.
7. glamping, Limestone Coast
Surround yourself with 400-year-old red gum trees while sleeping in a luxurious bell tent on-site at Bellwether Wines in the beautiful Coonawarra wine region. There is an amenities building on site with showers, toilets and a claw foot bath. Alternatively, settle in by the fire with a glass of red in hand just minutes from the heart of Mount Gambier at Pine Country Caravan Park. For more camping options with a touch of luxury, check out our guide to the best glamping experiences in South Australia.
Where to find it: Bellwether is located about 4 hours drive from Adelaide, while Pine Country Caravan Park is a short 10 minute drive from Mount Gambier.
8. Kuitpo Forest, Fleurieu Peninsula
After a day exploring Kuitpo forest's 3,600 hectares of plantation and native bushland, pitch your tent surrounded by Eucalypt woodland. The main campground, Chookarloo, lies 1.5km from the Kuitpo Forest Information Centre and is the perfect base for families and hikers traversing the Heysen and Chookarloo walking trails. Here, you'll find 23 campsites, shelters, rainwater, a pit toilet and picnic areas.
Like something out of a fairy-tale, the forest's magic is most apparent come winter as you stroll under dense canopies and discover fairy mushrooms and wildlife. Snuggle up by the campfire, toast marshmallows and swap stories before falling asleep under a blanket of stars. Your morning alarm is courtesy of the abundant birdlife that calls the forest home. On your doorstep, the world-famous wines of McLaren Vale and post-card worthy beaches of the Fleurieu Peninsula await.
Where to find it: For a camping option near Adelaide, Kuitpo forest is less than an hour's drive from Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Park entry and fees
Park fees may be applicable when camping at one of South Australia's national parks. For more information on fees, free camping in South Australia, national park entry passes and to pre-book a campsite online, please visit National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia.
Looking for the ultimate camping guide?
Why not check out our how and where to camp on the Eyre Peninsula guide? it gives you driving conditions, directions, cost and information on the best camping facilities along the Eyre Peninsula.